After losing billions of dollars in revenue due to the lockdown caused by the coronavirus, Disney and other theme parks have been begun laying out plans to reopen under new safety protocols. Guests will submit to a temperature test upon entering the park (anything over 100.4 F won't be admitted), masks will be worn at all times except when eating or when riding water rides, and many seats on rides will be blocked off to ensure proper social distancing is maintained. "Social distance squads” will be deployed throughout the parks to ensure guests follow the rules of safe spacing.
This is all an attempt to draw smaller crowds while allowing guests to still enjoy the park. Most of the major activities that gather crowds to specific spots in the park, like parades and fireworks shows, will be cancelled. Robert Niles, editor of ThemeParkInsider.com, says, “You'll still be able to get your family picture in front of Cinderella Castle or Hogwarts,” he notes, but “don't expect to see fireworks, big parades or nighttime spectaculars."
The Magic Kingdom Park and Disney's Animal Kingdom Park open on July 11, while Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot will begin opening a few days later, on July 15. Right now only guests with existing tickets, including annual passes, and hotel reservations to book their park reservations will be allowed in. Disney Vacation Club members will be able to make reservations throughout the reopening. The rest of the world will have to be content with making reservations for July of 2021.
Universal Studios opened on June 5th, but the parks are keeping attendance at only 35 percent of capacity. Many of the same security measures at Disneyland are in place, though guests can walk up to the ticket window on the day of their visits. Food service will emphasize grab-and-go and prepackaged options, and the park promises to increase its “already aggressive cleaning and disinfection procedures." It is recommended that attendees download the Universal Studios app to see what rides are available.
Other famed travel locations like Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove in Orlando; and Tampa, Florida are opening any time from now to early July with similar safety rules in place.